Israel Becomes a State
The movement to settle Jews in Palestine began in
the late 1800s and early 1900s. These Jews
believed that Palestine belonged to them because
it was their home 3,000 years ago. But Muslims had
lived there for the last 1,300 years.
After World War I, Britain took control of the
area. The British found that Jews and Muslims did
not live together peacefully. In 1917, Britain said it
supported the establishment of a Jewish national
homeland in Palestine. This statement is known as
the Balfour Declaration.
After World War II, the British left the area.
The United Nations divided the land into two
parts. One part was set aside for the Palestinians.
The other part was set aside part for Jews.
Islamic countries voted against the plan. The
Palestinians opposed it. Many countries backed the
idea of a separate Jewish state. They wanted to
help make up for the suffering Jews had experienced in World War II. On May 14, 1948, the
Jewish people in Palestine declared the existence
of the Jewish state of Israel.
How was Israel created and how did it cause conflict?
Israel and the Arab States in Conflict
On May 15, 1948, six Islamic nations invaded
Israel. Israel won the war in a few months with
strong support from the United States. This war
was the first of many Arab–Israeli wars.
Another war was started by the Suez Crisis. The
crisis began in 1956 when a group of Egyptian
army officers seized control of the government of
Egypt from Britain. The British and French had
kept control of the Suez Canal. Gamal Abdel
Nasser, the new leader of Egypt, attacked the
canal. The Israeli army helped the British and
French keep control. The peace settlement that
followed gave the canal to Egypt anyway.
The Six-Day War broke out in 1967 when Egypt
and other nations threatened Israel. Israel defeated Egypt, Iran, Jordan, and Syria in just a week.
Israel's success brought new areas under its control.
The next war, in 1973, began when Egypt, led
by Anwar Sadat, and its allies launched a surprise
attack. At first, Arab forces won some of the territory lost in 1967. Israel, led by its prime minister,
Golda Meir, fought back and won control of much
of the territory it had lost.
How did Arab states respond to the creation of Israel?
Efforts at Peace
In 1977, Egyptian leader Sadat signed a peace
agreement with Israeli prime minister Menachem
Begin. In this agreement, Israel gave the Sinai
Peninsula back to Egypt. In return, Egypt recognized Israel as a nation. Egypt was the first Islamic
country to give this recognition. This agreement
became known as the Camp David Accords. It
was the first signed agreement between Israel and
an Arab country. This angered many Arabs. Sadat
was assassinated in 1981.
What is significant about the Camp David Accords?
(Requires 2 Sentences)
Peace Slips Away
Despite many efforts, Israel and the Palestinians
have not made peace. Palestinians living in Israel
dislike Israeli rule. They want a nation of their own.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO),
led by Yasir Arafat, became a leading group in the
struggle for self-rule. During the 1970s and 1980s,
the military arm of the PLO made many attacks on
Israel. Israel responded by invading Lebanon to
attack bases of the PLO. In the late 1980s, many
Palestinians in Israel began a revolt called the
intifada. The intifada continued into the 1990s.
In the early 1990s, the two sides took steps
toward peace. Israel agreed to give Palestinians
control of an area called the Gaza Strip and of the
town of Jericho. The agreement was known as the
Oslo Peace Accords. The Israeli leader who
signed this agreement, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated in 1995. He was killed by a Jewish extremist
who opposed giving in to the Palestinians. In 2003,
the two sides began working on a new peace plan
pushed by U.S. leaders.
How have the Paelstinians been in conflict with Israel?